Effective Estimation of Dynamic Metabolic Fluxes Using 13c Labeling and Piecewise Affine Approximation: From Theory to Practical Applicability

Authors: 
Schumacher, R., Delft University of Technology

The design of microbial production processes relies on rational choices for metabolic engineering of the production host and the process conditions. These require a systematic and quantitative understanding of cellular regulation. As an extension of the Dynamic metabolic flux analysis (DMFA) framework to underdetermined metabolic network, a method for dynamic flux identification using quantitative metabolomics and 13C labeling to identify piecewise-affine (PWA) flux functions has been described recently.
Obtaining flux estimates nevertheless still required frequent manual reinitalization to obtain a good reproduction of the experimental data and, moreover, did not optimize on all observables simultaneously (metabolites and isotopomer concentrations).
In our contribution we focus on measures to achieve faster and robust dynamic flux estimation which leads to a high dimensional parameter estimation problem. Specifically, we address the following challenges within the PWA problem formulation: (1) Fast selection of sufficient domains for the PWA flux functions, (2) Control of over-fitting in the concentration space using shape-prescriptive modeling and (3) robust and efficient implementation of the parameter estimation using the hybrid implicit filtering algorithm. With the improvements we significantly speed up the convergence by efficiently exploiting that the optimization problem is partly linear. This allows application to larger-scale metabolic networks and demonstrates that the proposed approach is not purely theoretical, but also applicable in practice.